Planning for the needs of marginalised communities
Cities are heterogeneous, and pockets of wealth exist alongside extremely marginalised communities. Planning can play an essential role in ensuring that the poorest communities are not left behind. For many policymakers, scarcity of data on the needs of the poorest can inhibit action. WSUP has implemented citywide surveys in a number of cities, helping authorities to analyse needs and develop suitable policies.
Reducing inequalities through regulatory improvements
Regulators have a vital role in tackling inequality, by incentivising utilities to focus on the poorest customers. In Kenya, we have worked with the national water regulator to make serving low-income customers a regulatory requirement, helping hundreds of thousands of Kenyans to receive improved services.
Improving cities’ resilience to the effects of climate change
The poorest urban residents are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. As rainfall becomes more erratic, water supply becomes less reliable.
WSUP’s works with utilities and city authorities to improve their resilience to climate change. To ensure city taps don’t run dry, WSUP supports utilities to reduce the amount of water lost in the system – either through leakage and/or poor revenue collection; in Antananarivo, this has reduced water loss from the system from 48% in 2012 to 39% in 2015 – saving the utility, JIRAMA, three million cubic metres of water per year.
Ensuring services cater to different needs
The provision of taps and toilets is not enough to ensure that low-income communities will benefit from water and sanitation services. Scalable, sustainable improvements for the poorest will only happen if there is a focus on building the skills and capacity of service providers – such as utilities, municipal authorities and SMEs – to reach the poorest.
Over the past nine years, WSUP has worked with the Nairobi City Water & Sewerage Company (NCWSC) to set up a team which specifically serves the city’s poorest residents. The Informal Settlements Region now has over 200 staff and is setting a standard for other utilities across Africa.
Improving affordability of water and sanitation services
Through detailed research, we are supporting cities to understand the level of subsidy that may be required to bring services to the poorest, and working with policymakers to introduce these subsidy schemes.
WSUP has supported utilities to introduce payment mechanisms for marginalised residents, so that they can gain access to services that would be otherwise out of reach. For example, in Mozambique, WSUP has supported the regulator to introduce payment by instalment for water bills, making it easier for poorer households to access piped water.